Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Tuesday - February 23, 2016

From: walnut creek, CA
Region: California
Topic: Problem Plants
Title: A puppy's challenge in the ivy
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

ok.. so, heres the thing: my puppy &i often play with a frisbee toy in the yard (cuz the boy's got leaps!). however, it has become apparent that, simply put: i am a TERRIBLE frisbee player!! truly the worst. the ever-so-frequent result: our frisbee lands on the other side of the fence amid a dense spread of ivy plant. &armed with just a general area where "im pretty sure it went over about here..ish?", it is next to impossible to actually find the toy!! (needless to say, should the ivy ever be removed, theres a plethora of goodies to be discovered within!) alas, my question: have you any suggestions of methods i might try to successfully "sift" through the ivy for our toys without causing extreme trauma to the plant?? ive considered a rake or even a hoe, but i wind up tearing out so much ivy and/or constantly getting the tool "stuck" amid the branches &then fighting just to get THAT back again!! PLEASE HELP!! ive searched the web on countless occasions, but to no avail.. it IS an extremely odd question, i know! but im hoping this might just be the place to FINALLY get some answers!! 🙃

ANSWER:

I think I have the answer to your problem.  But first ascertain that your ivy is not Toxicodendron diversilobum (Pacific poison oak).

Next, go to Trader Joe's, buy yourself a package of bacon or a nice ham steak (with bone).  Go home and test your pup's sense of smell.  Does he salivate when you hold these morsels near him?  Of course he does.

Now have a wonderful meal with one of these meats, being careful to save the  "drippins".  These will be generously massaged onto the frisbee.  Now you are ready for the real test.

Take your pup outside and toss the frisbee (very carefully) a couple of times.  Then toss it over the fence. Point your pup in the right direction and relax in a lawn chair while he fetches it and hopefully places it in your lap. Dogs have truly amazing noses.

I believe this will eliminate your problem.

P. S.  The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center will not be responsible for replacing any half-eaten frisbees.

 

More Problem Plants Questions

Getting rid of poison ivy
May 08, 2009 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants, Likewise I also have a shady area in my yard with overgrowth of poison ivy. It borders a small duck pond and we have a Golden Retriever. I too would like to plant soon afterward...
view the full question and answer

removing paper mulberry shoots from lawn
August 09, 2011 - Dear Mr./Ms. Smartypants, I recently moved into an Austin home with the backyard taken over by paper mulberries. There were originally 2-3 large bush/trees, but now that I've removed them I realiz...
view the full question and answer

Management practices to eradicate Johnson grass
September 02, 2006 - Please suggest some eradication methods for Johnson grass. It is established in a field that I want to encourage native wildflowers/plants such as goldenrod, prairie coneflower, blue eyed grass, milkw...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating silverleaf nightshade from Albuquerque NM
June 07, 2014 - I have silverleaf nightshade in my yard and would like to eradicate it (yeah, I know, good luck!) or at least control it. Do you have any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Germination of Sophora seeds, and Dodder identification in Kingsland, TX.
May 02, 2012 - Our Mt. Laurel has just produced seeds. Can those be scarified and planted now or do they have to dry out. Also what is the stringy orange substance that gets on bluebonnets and other wildflowers ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.